Donating & Reusing Clothing

Parent Q&A

  • Where to donate clothing?

    (6 replies)

    I have a pile of clothes that I'd like to donate to homeless, or something similar. The problem I'm having is that everything that I find online is for donating clothes to an organization's THRIFT STORE to be sold in order to assist the homeless, but the clothes I have to donate would not be considered "saleable" (too much wash wear, a tiny stain, things like that) although they are perfectly *wearable* (I would still dress my kid in the kid's clothes, if they fit her). I hate the idea of just throwing these things away, and I can't help but think some one(s) could benefit from some free clothes (I have some adult clothes and kids clothes), but I cannot, for the life of me, find a place that will take donations of used clothing to simply give to the needy. Does any one out there have any suggestions?

    Thanks so much!

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    I request that readers rethink using the Channing Way free box. The house where we were living decades ago built and installed the box as a sturdy receptacle for local (as in immediate neighborhood) donations. Since the to-do of some years ago about whether to remove it, the free box has become better known, and consequently well-meaning people come from all over Berkeley and frequently leave way too many items in it. The stuff overflows or is left all around the box, sometimes getting wet and muddy, and my old Channing Way neighbors really have better things to do than tidying the area every couple of days. Thanks for your understanding.

    (Freecycle and such are good. I sometimes leave a box of things that are still in nice condition on our parkway for a day or two--any longer, and it becomes a trash can.)

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    The SF General Hospital volunteer center is always in need of donated clothes for indigent patients who have nothing to wear home. If that is too far for you to go, you might see if Highland Hospital or another east bay hospital needs donations. 

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    In Berkeley on Channing st, just below Roosevelt on the north side of the street is a free box called the Donna Spring Wishing Well. (Donna Spring was a berkeley council woman some years ago) There is a trunk and a little roof. Many people know about it. I have been using it for years, putting things that are still good but charity stores might throw out. I only bring one bag at a time, though, to not overload, as sometimes people pile way too much stuff. The folks who live nearby keep it tidy. It is a nice little community thing and I have even found some things I needed!

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    I use Freecycle for things like this.  You post a description of what you want to give away, and someone who wants it will email you and then come pick it up. I've had really great experiences with freecycle -- pretty much everything I've ever offered has been taken.  

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    A friend who's a nurse told me that hospitals are often short on clothes to dress people in when the clothes they came in with are unusable.

    RE: Where to donate clothing? ()

    Hi, for non-saleable clothing, I save them up and take them to the El Cerrito recycling center. Use the green US Again bins.

    This place is amazing - I take all sorts of recyclables when I go. Feels better than landfilling it all. See below for hours and what they take. They do have weekend hours. 

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  • Want to donate winter clothing

    (1 reply)

    Hello! I have some new winter jackets and various cold weather clothes for boys 1-4 and would love to know where I can donate them. Any help appreciated

    RE: Want to donate winter clothing ()

    Go to, click Donate Coats and type in your zip code. They have lots of locations, including many UPS stores.

    New replies are no longer being accepted.
  • want to donate wedding dress to needy bride or good cause

    (1 reply)

    I wish to donate a very lovely, unused, size 8-10 wedding dress either to a needy bride -- or to a charitable organization in the Bay area which can sell or raffle it to raise funds for good works.

    Can anyone help me get this dress into the right hands?

    Berkeley Nana

    This came up recently in the BPN newsletters and here is one suggestion: Angel Gown Project of California - repurposes wedding dresses into gowns for babies who
    pass away in California hospitals:

    New replies are no longer being accepted.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Recycling Specific Types of Clothing Related Pages

Where to Donate maternity/nursing clothes

March 2012

I have some maternity clothes and nursing shirts, tanks and a few other items. I would like to donate them to needy mother or an organization that could put them to use. Any ideas would be great! Hubby says we are done with kids

There is an organization in San Leandro that works with women and their children who are homeless or had to leave a violent home -- for info and/or contact please check out I have also started to post items from free on Craigslist -- I basically provided a description, sizes etc. and gave away my entire pregnancy wardrobe (in one listing, not piece by piece).

Where to donate quality children's and women's clothing

Sept 2010

Looking for suggestions on where to donation quality children's and women's clothing in Oakland/Emeryville/Berkeley. Other than Goodwill drop off center. The archive exchanges were out of date- called a few places listed and they are no longer in services. Any updated suggestions would be great!

For higher quality clothing, I would consider Dress Best for Less on Piedmont Avenue.
ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program)! Donations go directly to the needy folks who need them. Drop off at 3610 San Pablo. Here is some YELP input:

For nice business attire for women, you might also try BOSS. R.K.

Donating good quality clothing for teens

Jan 2010

I have some very good quality clothes, hoodies and jackets that my teen daughter doesn't want any more. The clothes have been barely worn and I would like to donate them to a local foster child who is in need. Can someone tell me where I can donate in the Richmond/San Pablo area so I know the clothing will go directly to foster teens in need? DC

It's not Richmond, but I have been donating my son's clothes to the Emancipated Youth Job Readiness Program run by the City's Private Industry Council in Oakland. Call Robin Raveneu at 510-768-4402. She works directly with the foster kids and makes sure they get the clothes. Her Office is located in the Downtown Oakland Career Center at 1212 Broadway, Oakland. Katrina

Donating good quality men's & women's clothing

Jan 2008

I have a fair amount of good quality men's and women's clothing that I would like to donate. I live in Berkeley and don't want to schlep too far to deliver the stuff. Any ideas? Thanks. l_l
''We are a community where people with nowhere to turn, turn their lives around.'' I called them and their drop off is at: 600 Embarcadero Street in San Francisco (between Brannen and Townsend) This is an exceptional organization! Lupe
I volunteer at the Clausen House Thrift Store on Telegraph and 48th St. in Oakland. They take good quality clothes. Donations are accepted daily; you might want to call to make sure of the times, but I know they're open in the afternoons til 4 or 5. I think they open at 11. They also often pick stuff up if you call and tell them what it is. Linda
Please give anything you can to the Howie Harp Center for the Homeless at 18th and San Pablo in downtown Oakland (510-238-3964 or 510-238-6590). They provide services free of charge like GLIDE in SF, only they aren't religious and are right her in our community. The needs are huge, and they REALLY NEED MEN'S CLOTHING, especially warm clothing. If you can provide any hotel or small-sized shampoos, lotions, tooth paste,etc, they need that, too. Their services:
- Medical Care - Same Day Services: winter clothing, hygiene kits, nutritional pakages, haircuts, massages, bag lunches - Sign-up for services like Medi-Cal - Employment help - Case mgmt - Winter Shelter - Housing - Disabled care, wheelchair repairs, Center for Independent Living
Thanks for anything you can provide. Christina
Try BUILDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY (BOSS) on Kitteridge in Berkeley. Their web site is

Another good place - but a bit farther - is ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program) which gives everything free to needy folks. They are at 3410 San Pablo. R.K.

Donating gently-used bras

Sept 2007

After breastfeeding 2 kids, I have a number of gently-used bras -- many of them quite lovely and in great shape -- that just don't fit me anymore. Is there anyplace out there that would want them? Artists? Women's shelters? I'm assuming Goodwill and their ilk don't want used undergarments, even nice ones. Not Wearing Demicups Anymore

The Berkeley Women's Shelter at 2140 Dwight Way, just above Shattuck, will accept the bras. The shelter itself is always open after 4pm every day of the week, and the daytime program is open after 10am Sunday through Thursday (except Wed. when it opens after 12). Just ring the doorbell and tell them you're dropping off a clothes donation. If you have any problems, just email me and I can take them over there, since I used to be a volunteer. Nancy
The Salvation Army (the one I use is in Alameda: 1918 Park St. Alameda, CA 94501; or in Berkeley: 1824 University Ave. Berkeley, CA 94703) is happy to take women's clothing, including bras. I donate to them on a regular basis; gave them everything of my Mom's when she died, etc. --Always Cleaning Out Closets/Cupboards
I've recently become a big fan of Things I really like about are that: a) it is a good place to recycle things that are not traditional Goodwill-type donations b) it is really helpful to those of us who are working-class, and value hand-me-downs and don't qualify for programs c) It's very local and easy to use. Your items will certainly be adopted and appreciated. L

Donating several bags of little girls' clothing

June 2007

Hi - I have several bags of quality children's clothing sizes infant to 4T that I would like to donate to a charitable organization that could use them. I prefer not to give to an organization that ''re-sells'' the clothing. Perhaps there is a social organization that helps women and children in need or something similar. I'm also able to give to a new mother who truly needs clothing for her little girl(s). Great stuff. Would hate it to go to waste. Nicole

I have dropped off my donations at Bananas a few times. I trust them more than some second hand stores. Kasia

''One Warm Coat'' Drop-Off Center in Berkeley?

Nov 2005

Every fall and winter the organization One Warm Coat collects coats and jackets to distribute to those who need them. Does anyone know of a Berkeley drop-off center for this year? (I've checked their website and didn't find anything in Berkeley, but wondered if a local group was planning a coat drive in conjunction with OWC.) Melanie

Bay Street Shopping Center in Emeryville and One Warm Coat have been partners for several years and each year Bay Street serves as a drop-off site. Donations will be accepted there BEGINNING THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING. They make it really easy to donate, you literally can just drive right up and drop it off without having to park! Patrice

Donating my family's used clothing

June 2002

I am looking for somewhere to donate used clothes (women's, men's and baby) and some baby bottles. I would prefer a battered woman's shelter but am open to other options. Somewhere in Oakland would be best for me but would consider other areas. Thanks in advance Joelle

I would like to suggest donating to FESCO, which is a shelter for families with children in Hayward. I personally know a woman who is very involved and she speaks very highly of the program. They work really hard at finding permanent housing for families and also have their own transitional housing.
A Safe Place is a battered women's shelter in Berkeley. Good luck! B Avalon
Mom and Pop Green accept donations for fire victims. They will pick up if need be. You can reach them at 510-261-7724 They are in Oakland. Wendy
Call the Women's Refuge in Berkeley and ask what they need. Also the City of Oakland and the City of Berkeley can probably refer you to shelters. Some shelters are listed in the front of the phone book under emergency services. nancy
I have donated women's and children's clothing and children's toys and supplies to the following organizations:

Healthy Babies Project - A great organization that helps women who are working hard to stay clean and sober. Needs kid's and women's clothes, maternity, toys. Drop off on porch at 3328 Elm Street at 34th near summit med ctr. 596-4189 or 450-0881 Other Women's Shelters:
Dwight way shelter 649-4976
Harrison house 525-5896
Women's daytime drop-in center (don't have phone number)


Bay Area Crises Nursery has a wish list here: They are a wonderful organization. Here is their mission:

The purpose of the Bay Area Crisis Nursery is to prevent abuse and neglect of children by providing support to families who are in stress or crisis. Our primary service is providing a warm, loving, homelike environment for children birth through five years of age by offering 24 hour residential care.

Another great organization to donate Baby stuff to is:

Casa Vincentia A home for homeless pregnant women Location: 3210 62nd Ave. (510) 729-0316 Oakland, CA 94605

You can drop children's toys and clothing off at BANANAS, a non-profit child care referral and education center located at Claremont Ave in Oakland, close to the DMV and the 51st St/Telegraph/Claremont intersection. For directions, more info, call 658-7353. Barbara
We recently donated a lot of childrens' clothes and toys to Bananas in Oakland. Great organization doing great work. They didn't require the clothes to be cleaned, although we had washed them before storing them away years ago. Timothy
We recently (February 2001) tried to donate a lot of (women's, maternity, baby) clothes and none of the organizations in Berkeley that were mentioned below were taking any. Our childcare provider suggested the Richmond Rescue Mission and that's where we went (2nd and MacDonald in Richmond, from Harbour Way freeway exit; phone (510) 215-4555, opening times Monday - Thursday 8-5, Friday and Saturday 8-4). They are very professional, and they give the stuff for free to families that find themselves in emergency situations. Sebastian and Angela
alice 11/99
Re: donating used clothes, The Social Welfare Undergraduate Association is sponsoring a sock and towel drive for agencies serving the homeless. The emphasis is on socks and towels because these usually don't get donated, but they are also accepting clothing in clean/good condition. Clothes can be dropped off at 219 Haviland Hall, or call 642-4407 for pickup info.

I have several large bags of women's, men's, and children's clothing

Aug 2003

I have several large bags of women's, men's, and children's clothing to donate to charity. Most of the archives I saw only pertained to women and children, or were several years old. I have quite a bit of men's clothes to donate too. Any suggestions of a charity/organization who will take them all? Easy parking/drop-off is a big plus!!! Thanks. Heidi

I usually take clothes to the Richmond Rescue Mission ( at McDonald and 1st in Richmond. Not a great neighborhood, but easy parking and you can get a tax receipt. Cathy
I've donated all types of clothing and other items to the Emeryville Community Action Program (ECAP). They are located on Solano Avenue in Emeryville, close to the Comp USA/Home Depot complex. I love how friendly they have been and how professionally they have handled accepting the clothing and giving me a receipt. There is a small parking lot that you can pull right into, too. I see many people there collecting groceries when I drive by, so I know that they have a very active outreach to homeless and low income families in and around Emeryville. Unlike other agencies that sell the clothes, I believe that they have the clothes available for others to use, which means that they are far more accepting of clothes that are not in top shape. Putting used clothing to good use
Out of the Closet on University (and McGee I think?) takes all kinds of stuff. You can pull right up to the side of the building, drop the stuff off and get a receipt. elisabeth
The Richmond Rescue Mission (in Richmond--corner of MacDonald and 2nd) will take clothes for all manner of people--men, women, children--as well as household items (check with them first for things like books, furniture; they don't take mirrors or other large glass items). They run a family shelter, a men's shelter, rehab, and help get people into housing. I take stuff from colleagues there regularly, as well as our own stuff. RRM is my favorite donation station, and the only one I use now. Amy
Why don't you give Berkeley-Oakland Social Services a call?
Goodwill on San Pablo at about 61st Ave in Oakland - parking lot and they'll take it all and give a tax deductible receipt. Salvation Army - downtown Oakland - drop off in back off of Webster street. They have volunteers to help unload. Anon.
Woodstock Child Development Center in Alameda could really use your children's clothing (you could also ask if they might take adults). They are a public school preschool serving low income families. (They also need art supplies and diapers!) You can call them at 748.4001. I'd be happy to pick the clothing up if that would help. peggy
What about the Alta Bates store in Market Hall in Rockridge? They have parking, and they sell everything, and it benefits people who need medical help... Karen
About once a month, a group called Community Assistance for the Retarded and Handicapped (CARH) calls and asks if we have donations (of clothing, household stuff, etc.). If we do, they come to the house and pick it up. You might want to call them and see if they do pickups in your neighborhood. From what I understand, they have a stores in the Bay Area and sell items there to raise funds for their programs. It has been a very easy way for us to donate. anon

More suggestions for where to donate clothing

March 1999

The Women's Refuge is a great place to donate that stuff! 510/547-4663 They house and help homeless women and children. You can ccall to get the address where to drop off your used baby items. They'll give you a receipt for taxes.

I donate infants, childrens' and women's clothes, toys and books to the Women's Refuge . They are in the phone book. Call them to set up a drop-off. They almost always need stuff because the women and children who come there are often fleeing a domestic violence situation and only have the clothes on their backs. They may also need things like towels, soap, toiletries, etc. Nancy
Another organization that houses homeless pregnant women is Casa Vincentia. They are almost always looking for stuff for babies and pregnant moms. (A great way to get rid of maternity clothing in a way that *really* helps) You can reach them at: 510-729-0316 Myriam
There's an organization in the city called Women's Alcoholism Center . From what I know, they run homes where women can live with their children while obtaining treatment for alcoholism. I'm sure they would love a donation of children's clothing, toys, etc. Their number is 415-776-1001. Christina
Dec 1998 I work with a wonderful organization in Oakland called the Jobs Consortium . It helps place the homeless in jobs with job training, counseling, housing services, literacy training and the like. They also accept clothing donations for the homeless, especially clothing needed for a job interview. You may contact them at 251-6241 and ask how you may donate. They also accept HOLIDAY TOY donations for kids of their clients. Kris
Right here in Berkeley, the Women's Daytime Drop-In Center at 2218 Acton (548-2884) can generally use clothes, particularly anything women can wear for job interviewing, etc. It sounds like exactly the kind of place you are looking for. They can use things other than clothing too (they usually have a list of things they need...I have goven irons, clocks, etc.). Give them a call. Charlotte
My husband and I just bought a new crib for our baby. We asked at the store where we could donate the old crib, and the woman suggested the Richmond Rescue Mission . They do pick-ups. We called and left a message, but haven't heard back yet. Give them a try. They're in the phone book. Laurel
Chrysalis House in Oakland is a women's shelter for battered women that accepts donations of women's and childrens' and babies' clothes and toys, etc. You don't have to make an appointment, but it's a good idea to call for directions. Phone number is in the phone book. Raissa